Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


17 More Months of Winter

February 4th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

About a month ago there was growing speculation that Bishop Matthew Clark was going to step down early as shepherd of the Diocese of Rochester and be replaced potentially by Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry. Quick to throw water on the fires of hope, the bishop sat down for an interview with the local Fox/CBS affiliate. During the interview, Bishop Clark reveals that he plans to serve out the rest of his term until he must submit his resignation in July of 2012. Below is part of the interview. You can read the entire piece and watch the corresponding video by clicking here.

“In just a year and a half the man who has led the Rochester Catholic Diocese for more than 30 years will step down. But that hasn’t stopped many from wondering if retirement will happen sooner for Bishop Matthew Clark. We took the question directly to the Bishop in an exclusive interview.

Bishop Matthew tells News 8 he has thought about retirement but has no plans to retire early. That won’t happen until July of 2012 when he turns 75, which is the mandatory retirement age for Catholic Bishops. At that time he’ll send a resignation letter to Pope Benedict.

Clark, has grown used to questions about his retirement. Whether it’s from people curious about his age or critical of his decision making. “People who sometimes travel from our Diocese to other places when they identify the people say oh, who’s your Bishop? And they’ll say Bishop Clark. They tell me on the one hand they say oh poor you, or aren’t you lucky. So it depends on where the seed falls.”

In the time he has remaining, Clark wants to tie up loose ends and make final decisions on closing and consolidating schools and parishes [So he’s foreshadowing that more parishes will close. As I’ve said before, I expect St. Anne church to be in his cross-hairs. The assault on orthodoxy and places/people who have been  identified with orthodoxy and tradition during his tenure will continue through 2012].  He says the diocese’ financial house is actually in pretty good shape. He wants the next Bishop to have a fresh start.

As far as retirement, he hasn’t made specific plans. He will no longer be the Bishop of Rochester, but he will still be a Priest and a Bishop and he would like to live in Rochester and continue to be active in ministry.”

There you have it folks. There is going to be at least 17 more months of winter here in Rochester. This fits in better with the Bishop Clark that I know. To think he would surrender power a second sooner than he will be forced to does not fit his personality.  If the bishop stays on through 2012, then he will have to meet with Pope Benedict as part of the upcoming ad limina visits around the end of this year. That is sure to be a fun experience given their history. I am a little concerned about the part where the bishop says he would like to continue his ministry in Rochester after retirement. The last thing our next bishop needs is his predecessor staring over his shoulder and having his progressive followers whine and complain to him in an attempt to undermine the authority of the ordinary. If Bishop Clark remains in Rochester, I wouldn’t expect it to last longer than a year or so until Bishop Hubbard retires, and the pair can travel the country on a Forward in Hope book tour promoting their distorted vision for the Church.

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20 Responses to “17 More Months of Winter”

  1. avatar Nerina says:

    17 months of winter is a great way to put it, Dr. K. I can picture all of Narnia frozen in ice and snow waiting for Aslan.

  2. avatar anonnymouse says:

    I think Bishop Clark means well, I really do. But by any objective assessment of his tenure as our shepherd or of the pastoral condition of his diocese in 2011, one must conclude that his 30+ years have, on balance, been a dismal failure. Surely he has to realize this. Compare where we are at today with where we were at in the early 1970s. And the saddest thing is that souls are being, and have been, lost as a result of his leadership.

    We can (if we must) endure 17 more months of winter if it means that we will experience spring. You can’t hold back the spring, so we’re told!

  3. avatar Il Preto says:

    Don’t let that interview be the last word. Remember that God has the last word and He will tell Peter what HE wants him to do about the bishop. Let the people keep praying that the bishop will see his errors and that God will retire him early. Early retirement will give him time to reflect on the great damage he’s done here and may cause him to repent. Miracles still happen and we must pray for one for this bishop. Christ died so that the bishop may have eternal life and even though we have righteous indignation over the evil he has done here, we have to pray all the more for the shepherd of the flock because he stands to be judged more harshly in the end by Christ. Does anyone wish eternal damnation on him? I think not. Pray for him, suffer for him because as Jesus said to St. Faustina, “the greater the sinner, the more he deserves my mercy.”
    As for his living in Rochester after he retires, the new bishop will have total control of what the bishop does here so don’t worry about that. He can and will limit the bishop’s activities, I’m absolutely sure. In the end, we must be consoled by the virtue of hope that we were given at Baptism and more strongly at Confirmation and that is increased as long as we pray for it. Don’t lose that precious virtue and become bitter and fall into despair. As St. Pio used to say, “Pray, hope and don’t worry.”

  4. avatar Jim R says:

    Anon @ 2;42

    the old adage seems applicable: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

    His Excellency, as you indicate, has been nothing but, at best, a dismal failure and an affirmative promoter of dissent, confusion and apostasy.

  5. avatar Dr. K says:

    Anon 4:43- Maybe the Pope likes Bishop Clark and is leadership here in Rochester

    While that may have been true of his predecessor, I get no sense that Pope Benedict is a fan of Bishop Clark’s work, having corrected him on more than one occasion.

    Il Preto, very good post.

  6. avatar Mike says:

    “I am a little concerned about part where the bishop says he would like to continue his ministry in Rochester after retirement.”

    He could always teach at St. Bernard’s.

  7. avatar Sister Emily says:


  8. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    promoter of dissent, confusion and apostasy

    bingo, Jim R. I always get a kick out of how benign he seems in person. “Who me? What did I do?” But his policies are certainly not benign. It’s not just about leading a new way forward (which his enthusiasts like to claim) – it’s about completely destroying and maliciously attacking the past (Tradition and Truth).

    I wish he had the chutzpah to truly come out with what he believes and not hide it in these types of settings.

  9. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: BOO!! There goes my weekend! I guess Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this week, but Bishop Clark saw his! (Maybe his shadow is Sr. Binsack) Looks like we’re all in for a long, cold winter…pass the hot chili, and stoke up the fire!

  10. avatar Matt says:

    I almost made the “Looks like Punxsutawney Phil was wrong again this year” joke and linked to this post. Almost.

  11. avatar Matt says:

    (on facebook)

  12. avatar LarryD says:

    “I am a little concerned about part where the bishop says he would like to continue his ministry in Rochester after retirement.”

    Or Corpus Christi. You watch.

  13. avatar Louis E. says:

    Perhaps a coadjutor will be named…

  14. avatar Il Preto says:

    It’s no wonder that this diocese hasn’t received a new bishop! People calling themselves orthodox Catholics condemning the Pope and actually saying that he may even like the bishop’s way of doing things. What utter foolishness and a lack of hope in and love for God. Attack Peter and you attack Christ, HIS Visible Head of the Church on earth. The Great saints of the Church, e.g. St. Pio, St. John Bosco, St. John of the Cross and all those who lived during the Arian heresy did not lose hope in the midst of the horrors and injustices they endured. They didn’t say “Why God?” as it appears that some here are doing. They had tenacity, they kept praying without letting up, they had righteous indignation, they offered sacrifices, but most of all they had HOPE that God could and would correct the situation, if not today, then tomorrow, but they never gave up hope and they never attacked Peter because they knew it was an attack on Christ. Our own Archbishop Sheen was unjustly treated by the saintly Pope Pius XII because the latter was told lies about Sheen. Sheen endured it for years and finally the truth came out and the Pope commended Sheen for his fidelity. It has been many years that you have had to endure the evil of this bishop and I cannot blame you for wanting another one sooner than 2012. But criticism of Peter and, ultimately, Jesus will not help. HOPE, HOPE, HOPE AND PRAY WITH MORE FERVOR THAN EVER MY FELLOW ROCHESTERIANS! You won’t be disappointed, if not today then tomorrow.

  15. avatar Gretchen says:

    Ben Anderson comments:
    bingo, Jim R. I always get a kick out of how benign he seems in person. “Who me? What did I do?” But his policies are certainly not benign. It’s not just about leading a new way forward (which his enthusiasts like to claim) – it’s about completely destroying and maliciously attacking the past (Tradition and Truth).

    I wish he had the chutzpah to truly come out with what he believes and not hide it in these types of settings.

    Reminds me of our Dear Leader Obama…

  16. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    So then if you attack the Bishop you attack Christ, If you attack a priest, a sister, or a lay minister you attack Christ. Practice what you preach.

    good graciousness! no one is personally attacking the pope or any of these people. By this logic, no one would ever dialogue, debate, or disagree – w/out such the Church would’ve never developed.

    attack Peter and you attack Christ

    the Pope is not above criticism. Certainly we should give him great honor and always the benefit of the doubt. But this logic is flawed. Here are just a few examples off the top of my head of those who were critical of popes:
    St. Paul
    St. Francis
    Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman

    The # of comments we get about not being Christian enough speaks not against us, but against the culture we live in that says we should not engage in debate. Christianity is not a religion in which one must never object to anything – actually quite the contrary. It’s almost like we need to back up and learn basic principles before we can entertain many of these discussions.

  17. avatar Irondequoit Mom says:

    We continue to be prayerful that he does as little damage as possible by 6/31/12. However, should someone step in to assist in the transition? I guess all things point to it being a good thing – no matter then person so long as they are outside the DOR. After all, havent we been rated 175th out of 176 American Dioceses? I do hope that if he stays in Rochester, he pulls a Bill Johnson and is relegated (at least in all foreseeable circumstances- emergency acting mayor notwithstanding) to having an audience of his admirers, and influence over no young minds.

  18. avatar Dr. K says:

    Bishop Clark has until 7/15/12. Here is a link.

  19. avatar Matt says:

    Irondequoit Mom:

    Sheesh, you’re harsh. It’s not THAT bad! Rochester was rated 174th out of 176 in Diocesan Health!

    Give them THAT much credit!


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